International student work experience network a boost for South Australian companies

The South Australian Government has partnered with edtech startup Intersective to launch and pilot a new program to give international students at SA universities the opportunity to gain work experience in local businesses, strengthening their cultural immersion and language skills.

143 international students from the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, UniSA and Torrens University undertook 3 week projects for business, local government and not-for-profit organisations as part of the Adelaide Engage Work Experience Network. Students, mentors and educators were supported through an Adelaide Engage app built on Intersective’s Practera platform.

South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said the opportunity to work on ‘real-world’ business problems while studying would provide a unique hands-on experience in the South Australian business environment.

“Students will be guided throughout by a range of experienced mentors and supported by the Prectera app to learn project management and team building skills. Participation in Adelaide Engage will enhance their job opportunities here and in their home country,” Minister Ridgway said.

“Businesses including SA Water, Bupa, Trajan Medical & Scientific, Chooks SA, Barossa Fine Foods, and Bank SA can tap into the wealth of bi-lingual, regional and cultural nous students have to help businesses grow.

Jinhong Park, a Korean student from Adelaide University said ‘it was a great experience to engage in a real business project that cannot easily be done by online research. I enjoyed the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge that I am learning University.’

Peiyan Li from Flinders University ‘I met people from different backgrounds and we all learned from each other. In the real world, it is essential to work as a team and be an actively team player.  AEWEN provides a really great opportunity for international students to engage with real work experience. During the 3-weeks , our members and I worked hard and contributed and facilitated discussions on a variety of ideas. I really enjoyed this program and highly recommend to my peers.’

Sebastian Pabon, a student from Torrens University agreed. ‘Being the team leader for this project has given me very first insight into how to be a Project Manager. Dealing with life, university, project, stakeholders, team members, etc, is certainly stressful. However, learning about myself and my strengths, how I managed the team and the outcome we delivered, makes me believe that I have qualities and aptitudes as a Project manager.’

Bank SA General Manager Retail Banking Ben Owen said “BankSA was pleased to participate in the Adelaide Engage – Work Experience Network initiative in partnership with the South Australian and Intersective. The program enabled international exchange students to operate as business consultants. Our student team in Nicholas Thomola, Brandon Pinto, Yiyuan Guo and Quynh Nguyen provided real, valuable insights on real business challenges – they should be very proud of their efforts. Well done!””

Minister Ridgway spoke further about the broader context for the initiative.

“To support the international education sector the State Government has increased funding to StudyAdelaide to $2.5 million each year so it can continue to promote our state and encourage more students like yourselves, to live and learn in our state.

“We are also looking to double the international student ambassador campaign and strengthen interaction with overseas education agents to promote our interests overseas.

“We want to be able to further our educational ties, through partnerships with other international educational institutes.”

Recent ABS data revealing international student spending in South Australia reached an all-time high of $1.54 billion in 2017, up 9.4 percent from the previous year.

Minister Ridgway said international education is South Australia’s largest service export, and our second largest export overall after wine.

“We are committed to further growing this crucial economic sector,” he said.

“It’s estimated that each international student enrolment contributes an average of $29,600 to the local economy and every four enrolments support one full-time equivalent job in South Australia.

“International students also contribute to city vibrancy, and our government is increasing its work with South Australian companies to support individual business export growth to markets such as China.”

Intersective founder and CEO Beau Leese concluded – the Adelaide Engage Work Experience network is a perfect example of the kind of program we built our Practera platform to support – Universities, students, mentors and businesses collaborating systematically in experiential learning. These types of programs are key for people and organisations to build real world skills for the jobs of the future – but delivering them sustainably at large scale is hard. Practera helps program managers deliver better outcomes by keeping learners, mentors and educators engaged and aligned, and providing rich data analytics for quality management. We’re excited to work with forward thinking partners like the South Australian Government to enable this amazing program.

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